Archive for January, 2012

Do Your Victory Dance!

January 22, 2012

At the risk of sounding un-American or something (especially during Super Bowl season) I will first say that I don’t really follow football.  As I write that, I can hear a collective “boo” from all of you…so I shall add that when I do watch a game, I enjoy some aspects of the whole experience; the enthusiasm of the crowd, the coaches’ temper tantrums, and the victory dances. I get a kick out of those big hulky players in their shoulder pads, letting their happy cleated feet demonstrate their joy and pride in making a touchdown.

I also like the happy little jigs performed by my grandchildren when they win a game or a race, order a double scoop ice cream sundae or learn that there is an early-release day from school. Even my dogs dance when they’ve scored a cookie!  It seems as if dancing is the natural result of a happy event and a worthy expression of celebration.

I think that as we grow up and older, it takes us longer to generate a victory dance. We seem to wait for something major to happen before we celebrate and we often overlook the small victories. We tend to focus on what we did not accomplish rather than to acknowledge what we did do.

A loving parent tries to encourage his/her child and nurture feelings of healthy self-esteem. Wouldn’t it be wise for each of us to nurture the inner child that lives deep within our hearts? Instead, we can be pretty tough on ourselves. We nag and criticize, and if that inner child ever feels like breaking into a happy-feet victory dance over something seemingly small, the grown-up self puts the brakes on it pretty quickly! And if someone else ever compliments us on an accomplishment, we often downplay it in the name of modesty.

I’d like to suggest that you try something that I’ve started doing…recording every little victory… every day. I’m talking ANYTHING that makes you feel even a tad triumphant. Last week, my list included cleaning out my kitchen junk drawer (including the removal of crumbs from an unknown origin), driving right past my favorite pastry shop; rather than stopping in and adding their muffins to my muffin top, remembering to take the keys out of the ignition before exiting my car and locking it, and making it through a particularly tough day and remaining vertical during most of it!  Apparently, small things make me happy. Your list might be a little more substantial!

Along with listing your small victories, try adding a little victory dance for each one. If you do it in public and people give you strange looks, don’t worry about it….they will either ask you what you’re doing, in which case you can tell them…or they’ll pretend they didn’t see you and leave you alone.

Celebrating small accomplishments does not diminish our celebration of the large ones. After all, is victory the achievement of large goals, or is victory a state of mind? Just remember that “triumph” just comes from a try with a little extra “umph!”

Change is Inevitable…Panic is Optional!

January 12, 2012

I like to change my hair color, my nail polish and my socks. I sometimes like to change the way I have my furniture placed and I never minded changing the diapers of my babies or grandbabies. I would even enjoy changing the channels on my TV if I ever got the chance to hold the remote control, but my husband had it permanently super-glued to his hand. I can deal with those changes, but like so many other people, I sometimes fight against other changes in my life or my environment. There are times when I desperately try to hold on to the past…not wanting to let go of what used to be. I like to think of myself as adventurous; and in some things I am….I have rafted on white water rapids, jumped out of an airplane, and worn a bathing suit in public. But when it comes to letting go of things to which I have become attached, I hold on tighter than a cat stuck to a screen door! I hold on with my hands, my teeth and as much determination as I can muster.

I don’t think I’m that different from most people, in that sometimes I find it difficult to leave my happy little comfort zones and venture out into the vast and alien land of the unknown. Scary things lurk there! But once I accept that change is inevitable, I usually find that when I’m willing to entertain new possibilities and turn on the light of discovery, the monsters and the darkness go away.

It has been said that the only thing permanent is change. That is probably true…particularly in today’s world. Business models are changing, the economy is shifting and many of the things on which we thought we could depend, seem to be disappearing. But along with change comes opportunity. It sounds corny, but it’s true that part of acquiring positive feelings about taking a new path is being open to the possibility of good things happening.

If you find that change is upon you and you feel like rolling up in a ball and hiding under your bed….(or is that just me who does that?) you might try some of these ideas:

  • Stop making excuses for not embracing change and don’t blame other people….the world….your dog….etc. for the situation. Do not contribute to Global Whining.
  • Practice positive self talk.  Get rid of your ANTS…Automatic Negative Thoughts.
  • Remove yourself from negative people…if possible.
  • Surround yourself with supportive people…if possible.
  • Find something you love to do and make time to do it!
  • Don’t give in to despair. When things go wrong, remember that you have not been singled out to suffer! Everything is part of the larger picture.
  • Keep your past in the past.  Focus on the future.
  • Let go of your anger, guilt, fear, remorse and all of the other trolls that you’re carrying on your shoulders!
  • Express your emotions….just express in a healthy way.
  • Celebrate small victories.
  • Don’t sweat the petty stuff (and don’t pet the sweaty stuff).
  • Think of change as an opportunity to start a new life journey.
  • Refuse to wade and wallow in the wastewater of worldly woe!

Just remember that your very existence is a living and breathing organism and is constantly in a state of change. You can go with the flow, adapt and survive and thrive or you can fight it, struggle and be down for the count. Who knows, the change you so fear today might just be the life changing event that you celebrate tomorrow!

A New Year and New Possibilities!

January 3, 2012

 The gift giving is done. The hectic days of frantically shopping for just the right gift and last minute preparations for Holiday dinners are over. What seemed so important a few days ago…the things that caused some people to be so stressed that even their teeth were tense, have come and gone. At my house, all of the hustle and bustle; the planning, the shopping, the wrapping and the opening of presents culminates in 10 1/2 minutes of chaotic package ripping, wrapping paper flinging and food gobbling. Then I find myself sitting in a house that looks like Christmas exploded, with tinsel behind my ears and a sink full of turkey and pie encrusted dishes. The house is in such disarray that it would be easier to just move, rather than to clean it.

The gifts that were exchanged were fun. We always try to give what we think our friends and loved ones would want, even if it is a fragrance with a sexy sounding name in a foreign language, which actually translates into “Scent of Healthy Hedgehogs” or an exercise video which focuses on tightening loose armpits. But there are always the unexpected and entertaining offerings that surprise and amuse, like watching 87 year old Aunt Flossie opening up a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret and wondering if that store carries bras in a size 38 long.

Next, we commenced with the New Year’s festivities. Since New Year’s Eve is my birthday (which is, of course, why everyone in the world celebrates), my grandchildren traditionally take me out to play Laser Tag and eat pizza. So this time of year is really special to me, and full of non-stop celebration. But, then comes the New Year and the partying is done. No more gifts and no more decorations. Time for real life…ouch.

I’m trying to be mature about it because I’m allegedly a grown up. But I must admit that I feel a little let down when I have to put my Holiday stuff into storage and the world is finished commemorating the day of my birth by dropping a ball in Times Square. (Yes…I know that’s not really why they do it, but don’t take my fantasy away from me.)

So, as we head into the next 365 days, I’m thinking about what I’m going to do with them. It’s really metaphorical to think of a New Year as a new beginning, because really; every day can be a new beginning, but for some reason, it seems as if we are given special permission to wipe the slate clean and begin anew when we take down the old calendar and hang up a fresh new one. Every January 1, I feel like whatever happened in the past year is history, and I get “do-overs.” It’s like when I used to clean out my desk at the end of the school year; gathering up unfinished homework papers, broken pencils and chewed up erasers; throwing them into the trash can and knowing that they didn’t matter anymore and I’d have a new start next school year. Even if my life was a natural disaster, there would be a new beginning and a new opportunity to do things differently and maybe even better. (Please tell me I’m not the only one who chewed on erasers.)

We know that every moment is a choice and no matter what goes on in the world, we have the ability to decide how we’re going to deal with each situation. When we listen to the Terror Trolls and the Negative Nellies, who constantly focus on the woes of the world, we are taking time and energy away from the positive possibilities and opportunities that can provide us with joy, success and peace. Remember that this group of letters can be read in two ways, which one will you choose?